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June 24, 2013

Countdown to Kickoff 2013

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This year's eighth-annual Countdown to Kickoff will take Georgia football fans back down a stroll through memory lane.

Event spokesman and co-coordinator Matt Stinchcomb says this year's event at the Bulldogs' Woodruff Practice Facility will have a particular theme.

"This year the emphasis will be the 2002 SEC Championship team," the former Bulldog offensive lineman said Monday afternoon.

"This year there will be an emphasis on that team so there will be a number of those guys, but by in large the emphasis is for fans to enjoy themselves and interact with the current players and meet some of the former players. We're going to stick with this recipe and make it as good as we possibly can."

Now in its eighth year, Countdown to Kickoff provides fans the opportunity to rub elbows with former and current players in an environment not as structured as the annual Picture Day that takes place in August. Individual ticket prices for the event on Saturday, July 13 are $25 per person, with proceeds going to numerous local charities, including Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

The event will start at noon and run through 3 p.m.

The brainchild of Stinchcomb, former quarterback David Greene and John Stinchcomb, Countdown to Kickoff has been wildly successful since the inaugural event in 2006 and this year will pass the $1 million dollar-mark in money raised.

"Obviously eclipsing the million dollar mark has been a goal of ours for quite some time. As long as it's still productive and we're able to help out those charities we're going to keep rolling with it," Jon Stinchcomb said. "Each year we try to figure out new ways to make it fun for the fans and the partners who have supported us in years past and find new ways to help out."

The annual golf tournament that coincides with the event is already sold out.

"My brain could not conceive something this successful so far, so I borrowed brain space and neurons from these two clowns," said Matt Stinchcomb, referring to his brother and Greene. "There's always a little tweak year in and year out, but it seems like the formula has worked so far where the fans have enjoyed it, the fans who come to participate in it have really enjoyed it and of course the charities. The beneficiaries of those that come and choose to spend their time with us are very appreciative. We don't want to change it too much."

There won't be any shortage of former players attending the event.

Although Stinchcomb couldn't give a list of current pro Bulldogs who might be there, Georgia NFL players who have attended in previous years include Randy McMichael, Dennis Roland, Clint Boling, among others. Former Bulldog great Scott Woerner is among those who have been a long-time supporter of the event, along with former head coach Vince Dooley.

"Once you get guys to come out the first year and they see how much fun everybody has, it's a lot easier for them to come back the following year," Greene said. "This year, we're featuring the 2002 team which obviously is exciting for us because when you graduate, get families and people live all over the place, this is a good excuse for us to get together, raise money for charity, get to see your buddy, have a chance to see the fans and get to do it all at once."

Matt Stinchcomb doesn't ever foresee a day when participation becomes an issue.

"If folks don't participate and come we wouldn't do it but through the participation of this fan base that we enjoyed as players, we'll keep doing it," he said. "To be able to say that is something for everybody who has ever been to the event will be proud to have been a part of."



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